OHCHR

Bachelet appalled by conditions of migrants and refugees in detention in the US

GENEVA (8 July 2019) - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Monday she is appalled by the conditions in which migrants and refugees - children and adults - are being held in detention in the United States of America after crossing the southern border. She stressed that children should never be held in immigration detention or separated from their families.

The High Commissioner stated that several UN human rights bodies have found that the detention of migrant children may constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that is prohibited by international law.*”

“As a paediatrician, but also as a mother and a former head of State, I am deeply shocked that children are forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded facilities, without access to adequate healthcare or food, and with poor sanitation conditions,” High Commissioner Bachelet said.

“Detaining a child even for short periods under good conditions can have a serious impact on their health and development - consider the damage being done every day by allowing this alarming situation to continue.” The High Commissioner noted that immigration detention is never in the best interests of a child.

Noting the disturbing report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General on the conditions in migrant centres along the southern border, Bachelet urged the authorities to find non-custodial alternatives for migrant and refugee children – and adults.

“Any deprivation of liberty of adult migrants and refugees should be a measure of last resort,” she said. If detention does take place, the High Commissioner emphasized, it should be for the shortest period of time, with due process safeguards and in conditions that fully meet all relevant international human rights standards.

“States do have the sovereign prerogative to decide on the conditions of entry and stay of foreign nationals. But clearly, border management measures must comply with the State’s human rights obligations and should not be based on narrow policies aimed only at detecting, detaining and expeditiously deporting irregular migrants,” she added.

“In most of these cases, the migrants and refugees have embarked on perilous journeys with their children in search of protection and dignity and away from violence and hunger. When they finally believe they have arrived in safety, they may find themselves separated from their loved ones and locked in undignified conditions. This should never happen anywhere.”

The UN Human Rights Office’s presences in Mexico and Central America have documented numerous human rights violations and abuses against migrants and refugees in transit, including the excessive use of force, arbitrary deprivation of liberty, family separation, denial of access to services, refoulement, and arbitrary expulsions.

The High Commissioner recognised the complexity of the situation and the challenges faced by States of origin, transit and destination. She called on them to work together to address the root causes compelling migrants to leave their homes by implementing crosscutting policies that take into account the complex drivers of migration. These include insecurity, sexual and gender-based violence, discrimination, poverty, the adverse impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.

Bachelet also paid tribute to individuals and civil society organisations that have been providing migrants with the most basic of rights, such as the rights to water, food, health, adequate shelter and other such assistance.

“The provision of lifesaving assistance is a human rights imperative that must be respected at all times and for all people in need – it is inconceivable that those who seek to provide such support would risk facing criminal charges,” she said.

ENDS

* See relevant standards adopted by various UN human rights bodies, including the CMW, CRC, the Special Rapporteur on migrants and torture: 
https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session28/Documents/A_HRC_28_68__Add_3_ENG.docand
https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC/C/GC/22&Lang=en

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Fellowship Programme for people of African descent

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION EXTENDED UNTIL 15 MAY 2019 

What is it?

The Fellowship programme for people of African descent is a three-week intensive learning opportunity for people of African descent from the diaspora, who are engaged in promoting the rights of people of African descent.

It takes place once a year at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

The Fellowship programme provides the participants with the opportunity to:

  • Learn about and deepen their understanding of the international human rights law and the UN human rights system, the international framework to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and intersecting issues with a focus on people of African descent;

  • Strengthen skills in developing project proposals, delivering presentations and submitting information to human rights mechanisms;

  • Gain first-hand exposure to human rights mechanisms;

  • Meet with a wide-range of actors.

The Fellowship Programme was initiated by the Anti-Racial Discrimination Section in 2011 and was further supported by GA resolution on Programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent (A/RES/69/16). The High Commissioner is the coordinator of the IDPAD.

What is the aim?

The aim is to strengthen participants’ skills to contribute to the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of people of African descent in their respective countries. The participants are equipped with the tools necessary to enhance the development of legislation, policies and programmes; to strengthen collaboration of civil society with governments; and to undertake local awareness-raising activities.

For whom?

The candidate must be an individual of African descent living in the Diaspora.

  • The candidate must have a minimum of 4 years of work experience related to the rights of People of African Descent.

  • The programme is bilingual in English and French. The candidate needs to have sufficient command of one of the two languages to be able to participate fully in the programme.

  • The candidate has to submit a letter from an organization working on issues related to People of African Descent or minority rights certifying their status.

  • The candidates must be available to attend the full duration of the programme. The selected fellows will be expected to participate in different activities and to strictly follow the programme.

Since 2011, 72 fellows from 32 countries have participated in the Fellowship programme including Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Guyana, Honduras, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Moldova, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Virgin Islands.

When?

In 2019, the Fellowship will be held from 25 November to 13 December in Geneva, Switzerland.

How to Apply?

THE CALL FOR APPLICATION FOR 2019 IS NOW OPEN

Applicants are requested to submit the following documents in one single e-mail toafricandescentfellowship@ohchr.org:

  • A Curriculum Vitae

  • A completed, signed and scanned Application Form in one single document.

  • A Personal Statement (maximum 500 words) in which the candidate will explain his/her motivation for applying, and how he/she will use the knowledge gained from the fellowship to promote the interests and rights of people of African descent.

  • An Official Letter from the nominating organization or community certifying the status

  • A copy of the applicant’s passport.

  • Please note that submissions with more than five attachments will not be accepted.

Important: Please mention in the subject header of your e-mail: "Application for the YEAR Fellowship Programme for People of African Descent."

Name the attached document as follows:

LAST NAME First name – Type of document
Example: SMITH Jacqueline – Application form.doc
SMITH Jacqueline – A Personal Statement.doc 
SMITH Jacqueline – Letter certifying Status.pdf
SMITH Jacqueline – Passport.pdf

Deadline for Applications: DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION EXTENDED UNTIL 15 MAY 2019 

Participant’s entitlement

Each fellow is entitled to a return ticket (economy class) from the country of residence to Geneva; basic health insurance; and a stipend to cover modest accommodation and other living expenses for the duration of the Programme.

Selection Process

The selection of the fellows will reflect gender and regional balance. The human rights situation of People of African Descent in the respective countries will also be taken into consideration.

Please note, that because of the volume of messages, applications will not be acknowledged. Only short-listed candidates will be notified.

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Call for submissions: Sustainable Development Goal 2 and the right to food

In October 2019, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food will present a thematic report to the United Nations General Assembly that focuses on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 2 and other goals relevant to achieving zero hunger and reducing malnutrition by 2030 from a right to food perspective.

For that purpose, the Special Rapporteur is seeking inputs from States, NGOs, private sector actors, academic institutions and all relevant stakeholders, through responses to the question below. Your replies will inform the Special Rapporteur’s analysis and contribute to her thematic report.

Background

It has been over three years since the Sustainable Development Goals officially came into force. The 2030 Agenda sets an ambitious objective: a model of more equitable and sustainable development that puts people at its centre and is explicitly grounded in all human rights, as expressed through the language “no one left behind.” There has been some measurable progress in some countries: for example, the 2018 SDG Progress Report found that extreme poverty has fallen below 11% of the world population. This metric should suggest that we are moving closer to achieving zero hunger per SDG 2, yet it also stands at odds with reports that hunger and malnutrition are increasing.

The 2018 various reports, including FAO, indicate that after a prolonged decline, world hunger appears to be on the rise again. The proportion of undernourished people worldwide increased from 10.6 per cent in 2015 to 11.0 per cent in 2016. This translates to 815 million undernourished people worldwide in 2016, up from 777 million in 2015. In 2017, 151 million children under age 5 suffered from stunting (low height for their age), 51 million suffered from wasting (low weight for height), and 38 million were overweight. In addition to economic, political and structural problems at the global and national levels, external factors such as conflict, drought and other natural disasters linked to climate change are among the key factors contributing to these trends.

Meanwhile, evidence suggests that the SDGs are stalling, not just in the context of SDG2, but in their entirety. Despite efforts to elicit widespread participation in the 2030 Agenda, institutional impediments have hindered effective implementation of the SDGs. Persistent inequalities based on gender, ethnicity, nationality and geography have further undermined the SDGs’ success. The Special Rapporteur seeks to identify these challenges in the hopes that the SDGs may still reach their full potential and enable the realization of human rights, including the right to food. At the same time, the Special Rapporteur would like to emphasize positive developments and good practices that help to eliminate hunger and malnutrition.

Question

In light of the background, above, please provide a brief description of any good practices – particularly practices based on a human rights approach - of States and other stakeholders, including private companies, to address inequality, and to monitor, support and implement progress under the relevant SDGs, notably SDG 2.

Submission of responses

We strongly encourage you to please send your responses in Word format by email to srfood@ohchr.org using the email title "Submission to report on SDGs".

Submissions will also be accepted via regular mail at the following address:

ATTN: Special Rapporteur on the right to food
Special Procedures Branch
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mailing address: UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211 Geneva 10

We kindly request that your submission be concise and limited to a maximum of 5 pages. Due to a limited capacity for translation, we also request that your inputs be submitted in English or French.

To avoid unnecessary duplication: if you have recently replied to other questionnaires from UN human rights mechanisms (or other international bodies) with information that would be relevant to this request as well, we welcome your directing us to those replies.

The deadline for submission is 20 May 2019.

Unless otherwise requested, all submissions will be made publicly available and posted on the Special Rapporteur’s homepage at the OHCHR website.

Please feel free to share this message and the questions with anyone who might be interested in contributing.

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Call for Applications: Senior Indigenous Fellow

Please share this very important Call for Applications to your organisations and networks, the newly launched Senior Indigenous Fellow position based in the Indigenous Peoples and Minority Section of OHCHR.

Under the guidance and supervision of the Chief of Section and the coordinator of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, the Senior Fellow will contribute to the activities of the Section by providing substantive, administrative and technical support to the mandate and activities of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples; organises human rights trainings and capacity building activities for the grantees of the Fund; supports the development of comprehensive and inter-active capacity building tools, fundraising activities; and develops outreach and dissemination strategy to improve the Fund’s support to its grantees.

 Deadline of application: Friday, 8 February 2019.
Click here for Application


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Briefing in NY on OHCHR plans around civic space

Ms. Peggy Hicks, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures, and Right to Development Division at OHCHR will brief interested civil society on OHCHR plans for the coming years around civic space, followed by a discussion. The briefing will be held on Friday 17 August 2018 at 3 pm at UNHQ, New York in Conference Room A. One member per organization is cordially invited to attend the briefing. Kindly confirm your participation by email to Ms. Morenike Aroso (arosom@un.org) by 16 August latest.

See also: 

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/OHCHRReport2018_2021/OHCHRManagementPlan2018-2021.pdf